MLB Reporter: Rockies "Know They Belong"

Colorado could make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in franchise history

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
August 07, 2018 - 9:17 am

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Last year, the Colorado Rockies went 87-75 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2009. While their postseason experience was short – they lost to Arizona in the NL Wild Card – the Rockies (60-52) could be back again this season. They trail the Diamondbacks (63-51) by two games in the NL West and the Braves (60-48) by two games in the NL Wild Card.

While the Rockies have never made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, they have the veterans to get the job done.

“Look at the guys on the field,” reporter Thomas Harding said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “You have Carlos Gonzalez in right field, you have Ian Desmond at first base, Chris Iannetta behind the plate, also D.J. LeMahieu, and Nolan Arenado – even though he’s young, he’s been around a bit. So really, most of this team has been around.”

Arenado, 27, leads Colorado in average (.306), home runs (29), RBIs (81), and OBP (.389). Even as the team struggles through a rough patch – the Rockies have lost five of eight – there’s no panic.

“Last season, when they broke through and got into the postseason, it really set a confidence for this ball club,” Harding said. “I think that’s what you’re seeing. And another thing that you’re seeing: Bud Black, having been a pitcher and managed in this division and understanding that sometimes things can go wrong in this ball park – I really think he has been the right guy to handle the pitching staff here. 

“You just have solid guys all around,” Harding continued. “It isn’t like there’s one guy that pulls them in and gives fire-eating pep talks. Guys can struggle and understand that No. 1, that the manager isn’t going to just bury you, and No. 2, understand that ‘Hey, we’ve done this before.’ That’s the thing you’re getting out of this team.”

The Rockies endured six straight losing seasons before hiring Black in November 2016. The team has since gone 147-127 (.536).

“I think in years past, they were like, ‘We have to prove that we can compete with the Diamondbacks or the Giants or the Dodgers,’” Harding said of the franchise’s mindset. “Obviously the Dodgers have dominated this division for a while. But for the last couple of years, you started seeing guys (believe). Just because they don’t have the history, they (still) can compete with these other teams in the National League West and defeat them – and that’s what’s going on here. They know they belong here.”